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Chinese Muslims

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I've always wanted to know more about the history of Muslims in China. Like, how Islam spread there, what the masajid look like, how many Muslims, what is the culture, etc etc etc.

 

Pictures, articles and everything will be appreciated :)

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Muslims in China

 

Where do Muslims come from? Right, let’s think about this for a moment. That guy who owns the local curry take-away, Abdullah something or another, he's a Muslim for sure - Bangladeshi I think. And that sweet Pakistani fella I knew at high school, the one who wore an imitation Pakistani cricket top every other day, he used to fast - he must be a Muslim too. A layman’s conclusion: Muslims are brown and like curry. Reality: Muslims are about as ethnically diverse as the candidates in your average reality TV show bunker. If you so happen to live in London however, you may very well be tempted into thinking otherwise. London Muslim’s demographics (influenced heavily by sub-continent coloniolism) means that the chances of you meeting a Pakistani Muslim are far greater than, say, you meeting a blonde haired, blue eyed Muslim hailing from the outer reaches of the Central Asian steppes. I'm going to let you in on a little secret, we're not all brown, were not all Pakistani and we don’t all go gaga over curry (i, incidentally, am a brown Pakistani - and I love curry!)

 

This editions' piece will focus on a part of the world where the locals are more likely to be eating Peking duck, than they are Chicken Tikka Masala – China; more specifically, Muslims in China. "Chinese Muslims!" I hear you squelch "you’re having me on". I certainly am not oh inquisitive friends of mine, ‘tis the gospel truth. Nestled neatly in the western reaches of China, bordering with the ‘stans (of the Pak and Afghan variety) lies the Chinese province of Xinjiang, home to some 40 million (conservative estimate), ethnic Chinese Muslims- that’s more Muslims than Saudi Arabia and Syria combined.

 

"Seek Knowledge even unto China" - a famous citing of the holy prophet of Islam, Muhammad, (may peace and blessings be upon him) began and cultivated the Muslim love affair with the Orient. Before the Muslims went to Africa, before they went to India, before they went to Europe - they stumbled their merry way into China. Although Muslim trade was with the Chinese was already long established (through the silk route), they only really developed a presence around 650CE when the Muslim leader at the time, Uthman ibn Affan sent a Muslim delegation to the China. The then Chinese Emperor, Yun Wie, was so devastatingly chuffed by the manner and integrity of his Muslim guests, that he ordered the construction of the quite outstanding Canton City Mosque. Still standing, the Canton City Mosque (referred to as the Memorial Mosque) is one of the world’s oldest and most treasured Muslim sanctuaries.

 

The Muslims, unsurprisingly, chose Canton City as their eastern hub, with Arab and Muslim traders, deciding to emigrate and settle there. In the centuries to come, the Muslims would wield much economic and political clout in the Chinese hinterland, despite the usual stigma attached to small communities holding disproportionate economic power, the Muslims in China were recognised as fair, law abiding citizens of an exemplary nature. Thus, there was little or no friction between the Muslim minority and their non-Muslim neighbours.

 

Over time, the development of a unique, distinctly Muslim sub-culture began to develop in China; a fusion between Islamic spiritual values and the overwhelming influence of local Chinese customs. Although orthodoxy of religion was maintained, Muslims began to lead a full and blissful life in China, learning the language and building schools - they soon became an integral part of cultural and spiritual life in Xinjiang. The Sini, a sort of thick brushed, haphazard form of Islamic calligraphy, with a distinct Chinese flavour, is testament to the cultural and artistic influence of Chinese Muslims.

 

This blissful coexistence wasn’t to last for long, with subsequent Chinese rulers deciding to persecute the minorities. In the modern Peoples Republic of China however, the Muslims have regained their long lost autonomy and are living a life of relative religious freedoms - quite a rare occurance considering the irreligous nature of China's ruthless communist policies.

 

Today, the Xinjian province remains a beacon of Muslim prevelance, through the centuries, in an alien land. Despite the hardship endured during their persecutuon in the middle ages, the Muslims of China remain proudly attached to their spiritual beleifs and Islamic cultures. Their uniqueness remains, their way of life - still shrouded n mystery, still relativley unspoken of, even in muslim circles - continues, the same way it did when 1300 years ago. The childeren there still go to school, still learn Islam in Chinese, still have the never quenching thirst for Islamic knowledge. And as the rest of China loses touch with her spirtual past, one can take comfort from the fact, that tucked away in the hinterlands of western china, remains a place where the true essence of chinese culture, is alive and well.

 

40 million Muslims in China? Yes, Im sure - honest!

 

 

 

Penned by our resident expert (:wub:) on behalf of the Indigo Cat Corporation.

 

 

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The Nawawi Foundation is a group that organizes trips to countries with significant Islamic history. They went to China a few years ago, and there is some information about it on their website. I haven't read all of it so I'm not sure if it's exactly the kind of info you're looking for, but it's worth a look.

http://nawawi.org/eventsandtrips/index_china.html

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Islam in China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Islam in China has a rich heritage. China has some of the oldest Muslim history, dating back to as early as 650, when the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas, was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong. Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the course of Chinese history. Today, Islam is one of the largest religions in China.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_China

 

I just learnt something new too.

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I didn't think there were many Muslims in China. Learn something new everyday I guess.

 

I believe you learned this back in 2006! ahah its funny to look back at old posts :lol:

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TAT!!!!

 

OH WHEREFORE ART THOU TAT!?

:lol: whoaaa...easy on the coffee there!

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